Welcome to the FNR Highlights!
Our Research with Impact: FNR Highlights section contains articles, features, videos and infographics about FNR-funded activities and research, as well as articles on topics relevant to Luxembourg. You can use the tabs below to browse articles and infographics in different sections.
We are always keen to add to our highlights section – if you are a researcher, or work for a company involved with research, and would like to share news relating to your work, please send an email to Emily Iversen.
Luxembourg nationals Max Greisen and Véronique Cornu have many things in common: They are both educated in the field of psychology, they are both PhD researchers at the University of Luxembourg – and they both work with language-free approaches to early mathematical development of multilingual children. Max develops and implements animations that help assess early numerical competencies, while Véronique develops training methods to help overcome language barriers in early math education.
FACTS & FIGURES
The FNR’s ATTRACT programme brings promising young researchers to Luxembourg where they receive funding to set up a research group over 5 years. As is the case in most countries, these established researcher-level Fellowships are mainly held by men. Ulrike Kohl, who heads up the ATTRACT programme, spoke to Ines Thiele and Anne Grünewald – the only female ATTRACT Fellows – about the challenges they faced, and what they think can be done to make the programme more attractive to women, such as offering more support for spouses/partners also working in research.
Scientists at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) have discovered a previously unknown way in which our immune system activates its immune cells. The team, led by FNR ATTRACT Fellow Prof Dr Dirk Brenner, found that a molecule called ‘glutathione’ boosts the energy metabolism of a type of white blood cells known as T-cells, giving them more power to fight off e.g. viruses. The novel findings – which could lead to new treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases – have just been published in ‘Immunity’, the world’s most prestigious immunology journal.
Introducing Dirk Brenner, FNR ATTRACT Fellow (Experimental and Molecular Immunology)
From 20 January to 11 February 2017, a small exhibition in Luxembourg City highlights a selection of ‘WiSE – Women in Science and Engineering’. Here we introduce FNR PEARL Chair Conchita D’Ambrosio, economics Professor at the University of Luxembourg, who is also featured in the exhibition.
Introducing Thomas Schmidt, FNR ATTRACT Fellow (Mesoscopic Physics)
From 20 January to 11 February 2017, a small exhibition in Luxembourg City highlights a selection of ‘WiSE – Women in Science and Engineering’. Here we introduce one of the featured scientists, LIH’s Simone Niclou, oncologist and coordinator of CANBIO, one of the 11 Doctoral Training Units funded through the FNR’s PRIDE programme.
A research team at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg has taken an important step in modelling the complexity of the human gut’s bacterial communities – the microbiome – on the computer. The project, published in Nature Biotechnology, is an example of a study supported by multiple FNR instruments, namely AFR, ATTRACT, CORE and PoC.
Prof Karsten Hiller was awarded an ATTRACT Fellowship by the FNR in 2010. During the last 5 years he built up the metabolomics group at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg. As the fellowship concludes, we spoke to Dr Hiller about the highlights of his fellowship in Luxembourg, before he takes on his new challenge as successor to Prof Dr Dietmar Schomburg at the University of Braunschweig.
From 14 to 17 September, Luxembourg is hosting the 2016 NEOBIOTA Conference in Vianden in the north of the Grand Duchy. The conference presents the newest discoveries in the area of biological invasions and brings together distinguished experts in the field. Co-organiser and biologist Christian Ries gives an overview of ‘biological invasions’.
FNR ATTRACT Fellows in Biomedicine
FNR ATTRACT Fellows in Education/Cognitive Applied Science and Humanities/Identities/Politics
FNR ATTRACT Fellows in Material Sciences
When he began his career as a scientist, Paul Wilmes never imagined that his home country would one day become the base for successful research. Today, as Associate Professor, Wilmes heads the Eco-Systems Biology research group at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg after a productive period as an FNR ATTRACT Fellow. With their systems biological methods, his team is studying microbial communities in unprecedented detail.
In 2008, Phillip Dale came to Luxembourg as the first ever Research Fellow of the FNR ATTRACT Programme, which aims to bring excellent young researchers to Luxembourg. In 2010, Dale established a collaboration with the University of Utah in the USA with the help of the FNR’s INTER funding instrument.
Isabel Z. Martínez has been interested in how policies are put in place and how they affect people’s lives for as long as she can remember. After completing her Masters in Economics, she realised that academia was the ideal way to quench her thirst for analysing large data sets and finding answers to questions addressing people’s well-being and policy decisions. The Swiss-Spanish national has been studying income and wealth inequality in Switzerland for years and has now come to Luxembourg as a Postdoc at LISER to expand her research to the Grand Duchy. We spoke to Isabel about life as a research economist, and how it has already enabled her to travel across the globe, as well as work with some of the foremost researchers in her field.
Charles de Bourcy decided to become a researcher on human health when he realised the human body is not invincible. After completing his undergraduate studies at University of Oxford, the Luxembourg national secured one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world and embarked on a PhD at Stanford University. Now in the final year of this PhD in Applied Physics, Charles is taking his first steps towards his goal of building technologies to help ease the burden of global disease.
Passion and competitiveness is at the heart of being a researcher for Pit Losch, who describes life in research as a rollercoaster ride. The Luxembourg national, who completed his AFR PhD at the University of Strasbourg, is currently a Postdoc at Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, where he investigates and shapes materials for the future. We spoke to Pit about his life as a scientist.
Svenja Bourone is a chemist who has always had a fascination for natural sciences. During her master studies at RWTH Aachen, she became captivated by functional nanomaterials and as chance would have it, a doctoral position opened up in just that field. During her AFR PhD, Svenja developed a new protocol to help with the synthesisation of gold nanoparticles, which she is now putting to use in her work as a Postdoc. The Luxembourg national has a strong desire to return home to the Grand Duchy to continue her work on nanomaterials.
Kacy Greenhalgh has always had an affectation for medicine and health, and how health can be influenced by dietary habits. During her Master studies, the Luxembourg-American national was introduced to FNR ATTRACT Fellow Paul Wilmes and the ‘gut on a chip’, HuMiX. Fascinated by its potential, and how it could be used to study the relation between diet and health, Kacy’s curiosity led her straight to an AFR PhD at the LCSB at the University of Luxembourg.
Paul Hauseux was always interested in science, but only recently settled on the researcher path. Before that, his career ambitions stretched from working in sports or music to teaching science. Some years and a PhD later, the French national has come to Luxembourg for his computational engineering Postdoc in the team of ERC grantee Stéphane Bordas at the University of Luxembourg.
Léon-Charles Tranchevent says he has found the perfect job in being a researcher. Cherishing the freedom and unexpectedness of his line of work, the computational biologist also feels it’s his duty to contribute to the training of the next generation of researchers. The French national has recently begun his AFR Bilateral Postdoc at the Luxembourg Institute of Health in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
What do a French, a Spanish, a Brazilian and an Algerian researcher have in common? In the case of Adeline Boileau, Antonio Salgado Somoza, Clarissa P. C. Gomes and Torkia Lalem, it’s that they are all early-career researchers who came to Luxembourg to join forces in the Cardiovascular Research Unit (CVRU) at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), which aims to identify new personalised strategies to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.
Eric Finn Schaanning was drawn to research by a thirst to understand what mechanisms drove the financial crisis. He has just defended his AFR PhD at Imperial College London, during which he developed an operational ‘stress test’ model that is already being used by two European Central Banks. The half Luxembourg, half Norwegian national is now a Senior Advisor at Norges Bank, where he continues to analyse and help improve understanding of how financial institutions react to economic shocks.
Ever since he was a child, Jo Hoeser wanted to understand the function of complex systems. He found himself taking apart and trying to fix broken electronic devices. Then fascination for chemistry came into the mix. Fast forward some years and the Luxembourg national completed his AFR PhD in biochemistry at the Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg – and wants to return to the Grand Duchy to continue his career in research.
Spotlight on Young Researchers: Anna Schleimer
In high school, Anna Schleimer thought everything there was to know in science was already known. When she discovered how many unanswered questions there still are, curiosity drove her to become a researcher. The Luxembourg national is now in the 1st year of her AFR PhD, in what is not your most common topic: As a marine biologist, Anna studies fin whales as part of her joint PhD at University of Groningen and University of St Andrews.
Having started his professional career 16 years ago, Paulo Carvalho did not plan any major career changes. Then an opportunity came up that would change work life as he knew it and a few years later, the French/Portuguese national is completing his PhD at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).
“Would matter be perfect, it would be boring” says Guillaume Nataf, who has an oozing passion for physics and teaching fundamental science. The French national did his PhD in the group of FNR PEARL Chair Jens Kreisel at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), in collaboration with the French Atomic Commission (CEA). We spoke to Guillaume, who has just started a Postdoc at the University of Cambridge, about life as a researcher.
Alex Gansen first dabbled in research during his Masters studies in physics at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), and then decided he wanted to take on the challenge of a PhD, so the Luxembourg national returned to his home country. Alex has just submitted his thesis at the end of the 4th year of his AFR PhD in computational electromagnetics at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) in collaboration with the College of Engineering in Swansea. He sees the close links between local industry and research in Luxembourg as a great advantage for the future of research in the Grand Duchy.
Anna Scaini’s appetite for becoming a researcher was stirred at University, stemming from a desire to ‘save’ the last natural river in Europe, which runs close to her home town and causes dangerous local flooding. The Italian national is taking the first step towards pursuing her goal as she prepares to complete her PhD thesis in Hydrology at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).
Chetan Arora always knew he wanted to do a PhD, but did not see himself pursuing research beyond that. A few years later, the Indian national has completed his PhD in Requirements Engineering at the SnT at the University of Luxembourg, under the supervision of FNR PEARL Chair Lionel Briand – but this is only the beginning. During his PhD, Chetan’s passion for the challenging nature of research was lit, when he helped create a novel tool suite, which has the potential to have a big impact on software engineering.
Nina Hentzen, an organic chemist working on the chemical synthesis of collagen, is fascinated by research at the interface of chemistry and biology. The Luxembourg national is in the second year of her AFR PhD at ETH Zürich – and has just been selected to attend the renowned 2017 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.
Pit Ullmann’s interest in natural sciences was piqued in high school. The Luxembourg national went on to study molecular biology at the University of Innsbruck and then found himself desiring a job that would be both interdisciplinary and diversified – fast forward and Pit is now completing his AFR PhD at the University of Luxembourg, where his research group studies why and how colon cancer develops and spreads.
“The Beauty of Science”: doctoral student Hossam Elanzeery about his encounter with 29 Physics Nobel laureates
“Educate – inspire – connect” is the motto of Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting that brings together the world’s science elite and talented young scientists. The FNR spoke to Hossam Elanzeery, AFR PhD student at the University of Luxembourg, who was sponsored by the FNR to attend the 2016 Lindau Nobel Meeting.
In 2015, Cyrille Thinnes was featured in our campaign ‘Spotlight on Young Researchers’, which highlighted early-career researchers with a connection to Luxembourg. At the time, Cyrille was at the University of Oxford doing a DPhil (PhD) in chemical biology. One year on, we caught up with Cyrille!
In 2015, Dimitra Anastasiou was featured in our campaign ‘Spotlight on Young Researchers’, which highlighted early-career researchers with a connection to Luxembourg. In November 2015, Dimitra moved to Luxembourg with her young family to start her prestigious Marie Curie Individual Fellowship at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). One year on, we caught up with Dimitra!
Luxembourgish PhD candidate Charles de Bourcy was one of two Luxembourg participants selected to attend the 2015 Lindau Nobel Meeting. Charles recounts the highlights of attending the Meeting, and cites the passion of some Nobel Prize winners as an inspiration.
To meet a Nobel Prize winner is something special for every scientist. The early-career researcher Gökhan Ertaylan from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg got to meet 37 all at once when he attended the 2014 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.
From 9 – 13 April, the FNR’s Secretary General Marc Schiltz is in the US as he joins Etienne Schneider, Minister of the Economy, as well as Prince Guillaume and Princess Stephanie on the Luxembourg economic mission to the US. With visits to Planetary Resources, SSL and the NASA Ames Research Center, the FNR is painting itself a picture of the Space Resources initiative. Which influence does this Government initiative have on public research and on the FNR? Interview with FNR Secretary General Marc Schiltz.
Science based start-ups in Luxembourg: Black Swan – profiling and anomaly detection solutions
IEEE´s CloudCom is the leading annual conference on cloud computing worldwide. This year, the event takes place in Luxembourg and sees over 200 international participants come together to discuss the latest developments in big data, security and privacy and other important topics in the context of ‘the cloud’. We took a closer look at some of the topics on the horizon.
When microbes inside the digestive tract don’t get the natural fiber that they rely on for food, they start to eat their host from within. The findings from the FNR-funded Luxembourg Institute of Health study have just been published in the prestigious scientific journal ‘Cell’.
Motion‑S’s business idea is all about promoting responsible driving. The Luxembourg based tech start‑up has developed an app which analyses the driver’s behaviour behind the wheel and helps driving to make it safer and better for both the environment and the wallet. The only things it requires are a car and a smartphone – and of course a driver who is willing to play the “game“.
AFR-PPP SPOTLIGHT: Nearly zero energy buildings – how do we make industrial buildings energy efficient?
Many residential houses are built so that they scarcely use energy. This can also be done with industrial buildings. It just needs a different approach. During his AFR-PPP Postdoc, Pascal Brinks specialised in nearly zero energy industrial buildings, i.e. in industrial buildings where the energy consumption is or should be as minimal as possible.
The Goodyear Innovation Centre and the University of Luxembourg teamed up in a CORE-funded Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) project aiming to create and analyse surface-induced interphases in a macroscale planar material assembly.
The second Mind & Market Forum in Luxembourg, will take place on 30 June 2016. It aims to provide a forum for innovative business ideas that could lead to successful start-ups. Young entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of experts – ahead of the event, the FNR takes a look at Mind & Market and catches up with the 2015 winner, FNR-funded start-up Motion-S.
Launched in July 2007 and expanding ever since, HotCity, Luxembourg-City’s wireless internet network, is widely considered one of the most successful municipal networks in Europe. Even so, coverage is still not as complete as it could be and although the installation of further access points is foreseen, the City found itself looking for a more cost-effective and efficient way to enhance connectivity.
From 20 January to 11 February 2017, a small exhibition in Luxembourg City highlights a selection of ‘WiSE – Women in Science and Engineering’. Here we introduce featured researcher Dr Claudine Kirsch, educationalist in languages at the University of Luxembourg and Principal Investigator on a recently-launched project funded by the FNR’s CORE programme.
From 20 January to 11 February 2017, a small exhibition in Luxembourg City highlights a selection of ‘WiSE – Women in Science and Engineering’. Here we introduce FNR Award winner Pascale Engel de Abreu, a Psychologist who studies cognitive development of multilingual children at the University of Luxembourg and is featured in the exhibition.
If there is one country in the world that can call itself multicultural, it must be Luxembourg. With foreign nationals making up nearly half of its population, it’s a fitting place to take a closer look at how people experience this meeting of multiple cultures. Dr Elke Murdock from the University of Luxembourg has been studying the ‘natural multicultural laboratory’ Luxembourg since 2010 and has just published a book focusing on the varying experiences of culture contact in this multicultural context.
The recent 2016 edition of the Researchers’ Days, organised by the FNR, attracted a large audience that took part in fascinating scientific experiments and had the opportunity to mingle with the present researchers. The Luxembourg Parkinson Study (NCER-PD) was of course there too, with a booth called ‘What Parkinson’s disease feels like’. We took a closer look!
INTER MOBILITY SPOTLIGHT: A modern application of Kant’s philosophy: ethical problems in medical research
What can we learn from Kant today? An INTER Mobility project on the significance of philosophy for questions with significant relevance to society. Professor Heidemann of the University of Luxembourg developed an INTER Mobility project on the subject of “healthcare” and “contemporary Kantian philosophy” in a long-term cooperation with Dr Jens Timmermann from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
”It all started with RoboTEC in 2007,” explains Nicole Schlichtenhorst, who, as regional manager for PROSUD – a programme for children aged 4 to 12 that brings science into schools in the southern region of Luxembourg – runs all of the activities of this syndicate of eleven communes, yet clearly puts her heart and soul into this particular project.
In March of this year, it was announced that medical education in Luxembourg will be expanded and will also grow to include specialties. What is still missing is a clear framework to bridge the divide between medical research and applied medicine. In an opinion piece, FNR Secretary General Marc Schiltz explains why researcher-clinicians can provide this bridge.
MAP OF PUBLIC RESEARCH ACTORS IN LUXEMBOURG
TIMELINE OF RESEARCH IN LUXEMBOURG
FNR & INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: BILATERAL PARTNERS
FNR & INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: MULTILATERAL PARTNER COUNTRIES
OUTCOMES FIRST PRIDE CALL
Find out more in our news story
FNR’S INNOVATION PROGRAMMES ON THE TRL SCALE
FNR FUNDING INSTRUMENTS BY CAREER STAGE
Find out more about how we fund research
FNR FUNDED WOMEN IN SCIENCE
Produced for International Women’s Day 2016
PROPORTION OF WOMEN AT FNR
Produced for International Women’s Day 2016
PROOF OF CONCEPT (PoC) TEASER: ProCrob
PROOF OF CONCEPT (PoC) TEASER: HuMiX 2.0
PROOF OF CONCEPT (PoC) TEASER: HOTSPOT ID